One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ.
The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia.
The Lord blessed Orthodox lands by sending unto them many ascetics, righteous men and women who instructed the people in struggle, patience, and submission to the will of God. The Orthodox peoples endured their hardships with patience and hope in the mercy of God. Thus the long-suffering and humble soul of the Orthodox nation was cultivated and given the strength for the most difficult, heroic labors in the name of righteousness and love of God.
For more information on other saints and their lives see our Lives of the Saints page.